18 April 2012

Nice catch...

For a quick post, here's a funny moment during car set-up phase before race-time kicks off in the 2012 Endurance Series:

Can't be too careful when assembling the machine, right?

Until next time...

6 March 2012

The Paintshop: Subaru Impreza by MSC

Next on the "Paintshop section", one of the earliest models which served as test bench for... not running as it should, but for some advanced painting techniques.

While not the first ever, this Subaru was one of the first models where I used the previously presented washing technique. However, it was the first time I've ever applied it on a rather dark base color. Here's the result:

The idea of the "Bosch" livery was actually brought up by the use of the additional headlights... the thunders just came next to fill in.

The base color was painted using a non-modelism designed acrylic spray that actually is very kind on the plastic! It's brand is PECOL and the selected RAL is 5010.

As you can see, I always try to pay attention to detail when I paint my cars. I find this MSC production amazing, the level of detail is really very high, so I've tried to pay homage the best I could. It even crossed my mind to fully light up the car - no less that 8 leds were required for the front only! Maybe for another project...

I've started this post describing this model as a test bench for painting. Along with the now habitual washing to bring up the depth level of the model, this time I used another technique: glazing. This was used on the thunders, to avoid the direct contrast between the dark blue body color and the white/blue tone of the thunder. While this process is not strange to oil-based painting, using acrylic paints like I do limits the diffusion process between colors, as the paint dries up too quickly. This PDF illustrates just that.

I've started painting the thunders (listening to "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC - bad pun!) using Vallejo's "sky blue", then applying a 2/3 "sky blue", 1/3 white and just a small drop of glaze medium to paint over the blue thunder (another bad pun?). The glaze medium did increase the drying time and after half hour I've layered it again, this time with a 1/3 "sky blue", 2/3 white and the extra drop of glaze medium. The final result was quite interesting, even if the paint still dried too quickly for what was needed, the objective was still achieved.

I would really love to end this post with the test drive of this model, but somehow, I'm lacking the courage to take in to the tracks now...

6 February 2012

Body and Soul: NSR Porsche 911

In this section I intend to show how simple things can result in quite complex achievements.

The slot car I'm presenting was bought as a plain white kit. After some painting and tuning, it resulted in one of my most enjoyable slot cars ever.

To start where it also started, here are the looks on the paintjob:

I was feeling out of ideas when I had this body at the "paintshop", but I had the Castrol decal sheet at hand and a brand new can of Tamiya "Park Green" TS-35 spray and decided to give them a shot. A simple work with Tamiya masking tape, using some spares to create a "tear" effect at the rear resulted in a simple yet very good looking Porsche. The rear wing was painted with the "Fluorescent Red" Tamiya spray paint and got a West logo on it. Only downside was that poor attempt to create a green screen on the top of the windshield. I used Vallejo Acrylics transparent green but I guess I missed the correct dilution. I used the red color equivalent to paint the rear lights and it worked fine.

This model was later used in and endurance race where it ingloriously fought a pack of NSR Corvettes. However, it still earned some praise, both on the paintwork and laptimes. So, I decided to give it a free tune-up. Cracking the nut open, here it is:

As you can see, both chassis, motor pod and guide arm are the stock parts you get from the white kit. It's better seen on the underside:

All the original screws holding body to chassis and motor pod to chassis were replaced by the metric screws available from NSR.

Free from any regulation restrictions, I gave it the mighty Slot.It Boxer2 motor. The power is transmitted to the axle by a 12 teeth nylon pinion attacking a NSR anglewinder crown, which results in a very smooth transmission. A lightweight Sloting Plus axle stopper was at hand and I used it to limit side-to-side travel on the rear axis. I kept the stock brass bushings and steel axle, they run so incredibly smooth that there's no use in changing them. I also kept the standard 17 wheels from the kit.

As I've previously mentioned, I do most of my running on Carrera tracks. Here, providing grip for this car can be a tricky thing. It is very nervous when full throttle is applied when very sticky are fitted. I found that some appropriately oiled MSC G1 19x10mm tires were a good compromise in terms of laptime and driving enjoyment.

The front axle was the biggest change from the original kit. I replaced it by a hollow Slot.It axle, with plastic Slot.It 16 wheels and "zero grip" 17x10 tires. A few spacers were used to get the adequate width and the M3 screws were used to set the appropriate height.

The arm guide had its travel greatly reduced using a thin Sloting Plus screw, which fits nicely on the arm and won't get stuck on the chassis. I replaced the original guide by a screw blade from NSR too.

So, how did this got to surprise me? Well, after running it intensely on Carrera tracks, I took it once to a Ninco track, with the setup straight from how it was for Carrera. I can tell you, I got ROCKED by the blistering performance on the Ninco track! The MSC tires worked perfectly here, as well as the chassis and guide setup. Looks like I got myself a great "hybrid" car, able to run quite respectfully on both kind of tracks...

That is it for today, stay tuned for more...

31 January 2012

The Paintshop: A tale of 2 Moslers

Next feature of the "Paintshop", here are a couple NSR Mosler bodies I've painted in very known liveries, the "Castrol" and "Marlboro" themes. I find that these look great on any car body, actually, but the great looks on the Mosler body match them amazingly:

I must confess I loved the results on both as well I enjoyed painting them. I've decided to present both bodies at the same time as they not only show the application of the washing technique, previously presented, as they were painted in different ways.

The Marlboro livery was painted using the Tamiya TS-36 "Fluorescent Red" spray. I find this paint very similar to the Marlboro color, which makes me believe that naming it "Fluorescent Red" was a nice way to go around licencing... Using tape mask from Tamiya again, the basic design is easily achieved.

The Castrol livery was a different process. After applying Citadel White Primer (actually, the Marlboro body was also treated this way previously), the flowing green and red sections were painted freehand. I used Vallejo Acrylics "light green" and "vermillion" and I found them to match the original Castrol colors very nicely. It was a bit of a trouble to get nice and flowing lines in freehand guise, but eventually I think I managed a good scheme and result.

The drawing of the black lines through washing was quite easy on these bodies. The cavities and details are very sharp in NSR bodies, making them great for this technique. Additional details were added throughout, to liven up the looks (I'm kind of a detail freak, maybe due to my past on miniature painting).

This is it, a post on fresh bodies, using a few of the simplest advanced painting techniques that I can achieve so far. Stay tuned for more...

20 January 2012

The Paintshop: Do you Wash your car?

Well, to kick off this return of mine to writing, here's an article on a few "advanced painting techniques" that I used before in miniature painting and I've been trying to apply to slot car painting.

To better explain, here is an example of two similarly painted bodies which only one has been painted with this new technique:

(left: Slot.It Sauber-Mercedes; right: Fly Racing Porsche 911 GT1)

You you look closer, you might find an additional effect to bring up the detail on the gaps where the real body parts show fit. Here's a close-up:

If you look at the Porsche, the black lines painted along the body part gaps and crevices help creating a more realistic effect, by bringing up the apparent visual depth of the model. Here's another example applied to a more lively color model, between two Nissan R390 in white/blue and white/red liveries:

So, as I said, this technique was not unknown to me, but I never tried it out on slot car painting, only in miniature painting. I've been doing Modelism since I was 12, starting with pretty much everything: cars, aeroplanes, whatever. Slots came much later, when I was 26. However, during much of the time in between, I've been playing a miniature wargame known as Warhammer Fantasy (know it better here!). It's a whole different thing to slot cars, for sure, and I'm not ashamed of that part of my past... but I keep some skeletons in the closet. When I mean I have skeletons in my closet, I literally mean I DO HAVE skeletons in my closet. See to believe:

This is only a small part of my entire army of Undead creatures (if you know Lord of The Rings you have a global idea of the fantasy theme of this wargame, don't judge me on my choice!). I have taken them out of their graves... I'm sorry, their boxes I mean, for countless battles. This time I've awakened them again to show you were I learnt the two most basic techniques in miniature painting: washing and drybrushing.

Before we get started, let me just put something pretty clear to everyone: I am by no means the most gifted of miniature painters, I really just know a few basic stuff. If you really want to get rocked by the masters, see here!

So, to demostrate the effects of washing and drybrushing, here's a close-up on one of my skeleton minions:

If it looks complicated, trust me, it isn't. The white brush was used to paint the whole miniature in a mixture of black/brown wash, which fills the holes and deep spaces. The bigger brushes were used to drybrush the miniature with a white and bone color mixture. Drybrushing lays paint on the higher areas of the miniature, leaving the holes and deeps untouched. I've already mentioned drybrush on this article.

While the washing is fairly simple in this miniature (you just need to wash the whole thing first and then the drybrush will correct the rest), doing so in slot models is not that easy as you can't or it's better not correct it after you use it. So, it's better to use a specific wash rather than just dilluting normal paint. I use these ones, which are acrylic, from Vallejo and Citadel:

These washes are different to normal acrylic paints as they are specially diluted with different mediums so that the paint can hold on to the surface tension in gaps and holes. A normal paint, very diluted, is not as easily applied as washes in these surfaces.

To apply these to a slot model, you need 3 things, basically:
- the appropriate brush (a good one is required);
- being able to hold your breath for the appropriate amount of time;
- patience.

I'll be showing you the application of a wash to a NSR Porsche 917 body I've painted and which I find the looks very bland. I'll try to liven it up by creating the depth detail. Here are the materials:

We're set, let's go. It's better to clean the brush regularly during the application of the wash. Just dip the brush into the wash, set it on the gaps you want to paint and let the pigment flow from the brush into the spaces with gentle slow movements.

The wash will flow, fill in the gaps by itself without leaking out. If that happens, you can just wipe it out while it's fresh, with a cloth or even your finger!

This picture shows a comparison. Only the right side of the model was washed. Which effect do you prefer?

Well, this is it, a simple guide to explain a technique I've implemented to my artwork on slot models.

In the next weeks I'll be presenting some models I've been painting and you'll be surely seeing this technique being applied.

See you soon...

18 January 2012

Back in business...

After a very long hiatus, here's a post not just so say I'm still slotistically alive, which I never left being, but also to be the first of a few post to follow on the next days.

My last post was about the Pirelli and Scaleato tires resemblance. By then, the motorsport season was about to begin. Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull were defending champs in F1, Sebastian Loeb and Citroen in WRC and Audi had another Le Mans 24 Hours victory to its tally. Almost a year has passed, with the following news:

- Vettel and Red Bull hold the 2011 season F1 titles;
- Loeb and Citroen hold the 2011 season WRC titles;
- Guess what? Audi won the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours.

So, while there was not much of a change here, there was in my approach to the slot hobby. For sure I've been racing, tuning and painting cars as usual. But this time, I've spent most of my racing time, if not all of it, racing in a team we've started a year ago. Apart from the results, I'm just proud that the team started from very humble basis and grown into a 24-Hour race capable structure. That will follow, too...

On the painting side, here is just an overview of how active I've been:

This is the armada we took to the Trofa 2011 24 Hours race, eventually choosing the blue and gold Toyota 88C (this is when the cars were brand new, its painting is now pretty scratched...)

Some other cars I've been painting (the Marlboro couple are not really mine, actually...)

So, hope I can keep up with posting some news here, every now and then. Stay tuned...

18 March 2011

Pirelli and Scaleauto...

Just for a quick post, while new ones are being prepared (both news and cars...).

Following Autosport.com, one of the recent news
about Pirelli tyres and their return to F1 (welcome back), was the painting of the tyre side walls in different colours, to ease identification of rubber compounds. Looking at this, one question popped in my head:

Scaleauto tyres? :)

Have a nice weekend...

25 February 2011

The Paintshop - NSR Fiat Punto Abarth

Back to the "Paintshop" section, here's a recent work on a Fiat Punto Abarth from NSR...

I had no ideas on what color scheme I should use here, so I just ended up painting 3 stripes resembling the Italian flag (it's the same order actually...). At first I thought it was a shame I ran out of white primer, but the grey primer I used here actually ended up looking good. Plus, grey is not stranger to an Abarth car.

The stripes were brush painted using the always helpful Tamiya masking tape. The side mirror housings and wing were painted without help of tape, so it ended up with some flaws...

Here are the grid details. The top was a simple drybrushing with Tamiya Chrome Silver. The lower one was also painted by drybrushing, starting with the white (all surface) then applying either red or green on top, fitting to the lining on the hood. The green section looks a bit brighter than the rest, due to the white base it was painted on. I was about to correct it with some darker tone, but looking at it again, I thought a little contrast would look good. Strange though, the red tone actually didn't bright up that much as the green...
Also, this was the first time I tested the Vallejo brilliant varnish. I think I have applied too much, you can see the reflex on the hood. Now I'm getting more used to it and the results are better.

'Till next time...